When I set up the Flophouse, I had decisions to make about comments. That's one I had to think about very seriously because while I'm not into control and I love it when people speak their mind, sometimes people comment not because they want to join a discussion, but for other reasons. I'm talking about the trolls and the salesmen/women.
I derive no income from this blog. I've turned down all advertising. I don't even use the Amazon widgets anymore. The blog is not even meant to kick start a book or anything like that. It is pure fun for me and I hope for you too.
A Troll is someone who stops by and leaves comments that aren't meant to further a discussion, they are just meant to piss people off to no purpose whatsoever except the amusement of the person doing the trolling. That violates my rule about this blog being fun and/or interesting. Trolls are neither. They are boring and I don't see why any of us should have to suffer through that kind of nonsense.
The second category of "problem child" is the salesmen. Since I write a lot about immigration, I get comments that have no content other than to steer people to some website that offers immigration/emigration services. I don't know these people, I've never used their services and have no idea if they are reputable or not. I'm not selling anything on this blog and I don't see why I should let anyone else do so either.
After a few years of moderating and approving the comments before they could be published, I stopped. There wasn't any need for it. I am one of the luckiest bloggers around because Flophouse readers are polite, interested, and often a lot smarter than I am. And to be clear a person who is passionate or very direct in his/her comments is not a troll, even if I or others have an equally passionate response to her point of view.
I will never take down a post because I or others don't like what you have to say. I don't have a problem with being wrong. I do my best to check my sources but I'm not perfect and I don't mind anyone pointing that out.
As for opinions, I'm not and never will be the last word on anything. I say what I think and do my best to come up an argument that makes sense. Anyone who comes here is free to disagree and to say so in no uncertain terms.
I stopped comment approval but I still read and try to answer each and every comment. You take the time to pen something in response to a post (and I am deeply grateful every day that you do) and I try to show my respect for that by reading and engaging with what you had to say.
The issues (and they are big ones to me) is that sometimes readers post comments to older posts and I miss them. The other is that Blogger seems to be randomly dumping some posts in the spam filter and I only see them after a few days.
This will not do.
On my side I commit to checking that spam box at least once a day. I should have started doing that earlier and I apologize. I also commit to paying closer attention to older posts.
On your side, I would ask two things:
The first is I would like to know if it would be better if I posted every other day instead of every day. That gives you more time to read, reflect, and then comment if you wish. I sense that the posting rhythm isn't conducive to your participation here. Please let me know.
The second is that if you don't get a response from me within a couple of days either mention it in a comment to a more recent post or email me at email@example.com.
In fact, feel free to email me in any case. Perhaps you have something to say that you would prefer not to have published on an open forum. Or maybe you'd just like to introduce yourself and start a conversation. I also like to hear suggestions for future blog posts - some of the material I use here comes from people like Tim who pass along links or who recommend books.
The sun is shining here in Osaka. Time to stop tickling the keys and get out of the house.
Bon weekend, everyone.